By Jeff Shearer
CLEMSON, S.C. - Auburn's defense recovered two fumbles and Daniel Carlson kicked a pair of fields goals but Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant ran for two touchdowns in No. 3 Clemson's 14-6 win.
"Our defense played outstanding," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "They kept us in the game. We had numerous chances toward the end, we just didn't respond. We'll get better. We've got to be able to run the football. We've got to be able to play-action pass.
"Real proud of our defense. Our kids are hurting in the locker room. It was a disappointing loss."
Carlson extended his career Auburn scoring record to 371 points, No. 7 all-time in SEC history.
Jarrett Stidham completed 13-of-24 passes for 79 yards.
"They have a great defense," Stidham said. "They're defending national champions for a reason. They did a lot of good things on defense. We just have to execute a lot better."
Carlton Davis made 11 solo tackles to lead No. 13 Auburn's defense.
"Our defense, I already knew that they were an outstanding defense," Malzahn said. "That's a very good offense. They held them to 14 points, played their guts out and gave us a chance to win it."
Bryant's 27-yard scoring run on the opening drive of the second half accounted for the final score.
In the fourth quarter, Stephen Roberts' 25-yard punt return gave Auburn its best field position of the second half at its 45.
Both defenses limited offenses accustomed to explosive performances, with Auburn holding Clemson to 283 yards while Clemson held Auburn to 117.
Auburn sacked Clemson's quarterbacks three times while Clemson recorded 11 sacks.
The visiting Tigers led 7-6 at the half.
Auburn scored on its opening possession, consuming more than half of the first quarter on a 15-play drive resulting in Daniel Carlson's 24-yard field goal
"I thought we did some really good things that first drive," said Stidham, who connected with Nate Craig-Myers for 23 yards on third-and-14 for the drive's key play. "After that we didn't move the ball very well, but we're going to regroup and we're going to be a better offense."
Jeremiah Dinson's fumble recovery gave Auburn the ball at Clemson's 11, setting up Carlson's 28-yard field goal with 14:17 left in the first half.
Late in the first half, Clemson drove 88 yards on 12 plays for the go-ahead score. Quarterback Kelly Bryant scored from the 3 with the extra-point giving Clemson a one-point lead at the half.
"We'll get better offensively, and we'll get this thing corrected," Malzahn said. "There's no doubt about that."
Auburn returns to Jordan-Hare Stadium next Saturday against Mercer at 3 p.m. CT.
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) September 10, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer
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